The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dog breed is a toy breed, but it is quite large when compared to other toy breeds. At the same time, it is small in relation to other Spaniel breeds. They are one of the most popular housedogs in England, and their popularity has been on the rise in the United States too.
These loyal, affectionate and gentle dogs thrive in human company and make ideal companion dogs and family dogs. They are not to be confused with King Charles Spaniels; the Cavaliers are larger in comparison.
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dog breed has its origins in Spain as is clear from its name. This breed is supposed to be the forerunner of the Toy breeds of Europe.
Small spaniels were often cross bred with Oriental Toy dog breeds to get smaller dogs to be used as ‘comfort spaniels’ or lapdogs. They were actually used as foot warmers, and for attracting fleas so as to keep them away from their wealthy owners.
The popularity of Toy Spaniels soared in the 18th century. The King Charles II was even accused of neglecting his office on account of these dogs. The association with the King earned the Toy Spaniels their name and they came to be known as “Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Dogs.” After his time too, the breed remained popular, finding special favor with the Duke of Marlborough. He especially preferred the red and white version which began to be known as Blenheim Spaniels after the name of his estate.
Though these Toy breeds were initially the prerogative of the royals and the wealthy, they eventually found favor with people of all classes and means. Along the way, the breed underwent changes according to the preferences of the people. When the short-nosed Toy Spaniels became increasingly popular, the American dog fancier Roswell Elridge offered high prize money for the original ‘pointed-nosed’ Spaniels. This helped bring back the characteristic appearance of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dog breed.
The popularity of this breed remains very high in England as well as in the United States and many European countries. AKC officially recognized the breed in 1996.
The Cavalier King Charles Spanieldog breed stands between Toy Dogs and the Spaniels in size, measuring about a foot in height and weighing under 18 pounds. It has a smooth flowing coat of silky hair accentuated by large flowing ears on either side of the face. The feathery tail is long, often sweeping the floor. There are 4 variants, namely, ‘Blenheim,’ which is white and red, ‘Ruby’ with red coat, the ‘Tricolor’ which has a coat of black, white, and tan, and the ‘Black and Tan.’
If you want the perfect family dog, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dog breed should be your first choice. They are extremely affectionate, very sweet and playful. It is a pleasure to have this quiet, unobtrusive dog in the house. They get along very well with other pets and kids in the household. They are even amiable towards strangers, which makes them unsuitable as guardians.
These dogs love exploring the neighborhood, and instinctively chase moving things, including automobiles and small animals. So it is never safe to take this dog outside except on a leash. Even though they are otherwise gentle, they can pose a threat to small pets like gerbils unless they are trained well. These dogs are so highly adaptable and versatile that they make ideal pets for people of all ages and situations.
Grooming and exercise
The long, silky coat of Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dog breed obviously takes quite a bit of grooming to look pretty and healthy. A thorough brushing on alternate days is necessary. Special care should be taken to clean under its long floppy ears too.
The exercise needs of this breed are moderate. Instead of a long walk, they are better off with shorter walks, preferably 2-3 times a day. They can even manage to get all the exercise they need by taking a few rounds in the yard.
These dogs are not meant to be outdoor dogs; they need the safety and comfort of your home and hearth.
Common health issues of Cavalier King Charles Spanieldog breed
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dog breed is prone to major heart problems such as mitral valve insufficiency and spinal cord problems like syringomyelia. They are at risk for hip dysplasia and patellar luxation too. An eye disorder of ingrown lashes, referred to as entropion, is also seen in these dogs. Regular health checkups to detect and treat potential problems may help the dog lead a relatively healthy life. Their life expectancy can vary from eight years to fourteen years.